The biggest group affected by the row over pensions at Aer Lingus and the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) has warned current proposals aimed at solving the issue could lead some parties to take legal action.
Deferred members of the insolvent Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme (IASS), jointly operated by the airline and airport company, say in a formal submission to an independent body set up to help defuse the dispute over the fund's €780 million shortfall that current proposals single them out for "specific perverse treatment".
“It is an inescapable fact that the imbalances in the current IASS proposals are very likely to result in legal action by one, or many, of the parties to the IASS,” a committee representing this group says.
Deferred members are those who worked for Aer Lingus, DAA and the now-closed SR Technics, which was also part of the IASS, but left before reaching retirement age.
They account for 5,186 of the 14,343 people affected. There are 4,270 active members, and 4,887 people drawing pensions from the IASS.
The deferred members’ committee submission argues current proposals to resolve the row involve cuts of up to 60 per cent to the benefits they have built up in the fund.
At the same time, both companies’ commitments to fund a new scheme for all members would leave them worse off relative to those who are still working, the committee adds.
In a separate development yesterday, the expert panel issued a statement saying it had met all parties involved: employers, trade unions, deferred members and pensioners.
It said it had identified critical issues that it believes should be jointly explored. “Intensive discussions on these will continue immediately,” it added.
The panel comprises Brendan McGinty and Laura Gallagher from KPMG and Peter McLoone and Eugene McMahon of Mazars. It was set up with Government support and the backing of Ictu and Ibec.